Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Membership Call to Action Day - Cancellation Notice

From The President...

Hello fellow Ulysses Members,

Following on from the last Social Meeting and the Membership Presentation put forward, thank you to the few Members who have emailed me offering to attend the 'Call to Action' Day on 8th September.

It disappoints me to advise that, at this time there are only a few who have put their hands up to come along to discuss how to move forward with the concepts we presented.    

The exercise has identified that there is plenty we can do to enhance, maintain and increase our Branch activities, however at this stage due to the lack of numbers we have decided to cancel the meeting.

As a refresher to those who attended and for those who could not attend on the 21st of August the Membership Presentation link is on this Branch website. To View and download click here or navigate to What's On.

Thanks to Mike Carmody for his expert presentation and the many hours he put into preparing and presenting this for your consideration. 

The Leadership Team will move ahead and commence implementing some of the concepts and will continue to look to your for assistance. I ask that you be mindful that all of us are volunteers and are doing the best we can.  So, before you commence to critique our actions please think about how you would do it better and put your hand up to help.

The next social meeting, as usual, will be held at the Deakin Soccer Club on Tuesday 18th September. I hope to see you there.


Maritta Heiler | President, Canberra Branch #44790

Historic Car and Motorcycle Racing - Wakefield Park, 2 September

Weather permitting, if anyone is interested on going over to Wakefield Park (Goulburn) to watch Historic Motorbike and Car racing on this Sunday 2nd Sept, Alan will be leaving BP Watson at 9.00am.  
You are welcome to join him.  
Cheers, Lyn Munday.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Date:  Sun 26th August 
Destination:  Bowral 
Distance:  360 km
Leave:  BP Watson 
Time:  Briefing 9:20am, departure 9:30am
Lunch: Bowral Hotel 
Leader:  Ron Tito 0408 697 289

Ride Report - Young, 19 August 2018

Did you know that mining company Rio Tinto grows one of Australia’s biggest lucerne crops in the rocky deserts of the Pilbara in Western Australia? Or that the various aquifers beneath Alice Springs are not as connected as we thought they were, which has implications for the town’s ongoing water supply?
If you had come on the Chomp & Chat to Young, you would know all this and much more, such was the quality of the lunchtime conversation in Wilders Café. As an agricultural journalist and general stickybeak, I did much more listening than talking – and enjoyed it immensely.
Along with Mick, who had just returned from a two-week ride up through the Red Centre and back down through Queensland, there was his mate Rob, a FIFO diesel fitter and vibration technician with Rio Tinto, and Robert, a geophysical technician investigating underground water supplies in the Kimberley and parts of the NT.
Yes, a mere four hardy souls had huddled together for the exceedingly brief pre-ride briefing – and this would probably have only been three if I hadn’t been bound to turn up because I was leading the expedition. It was cold, blowing and spitting at Nicholls and the forecast was even worse for our destination on the South West Slopes.
The outwards journey wasn’t too bad. The temperature varied between 5 and 7 degrees and even got up to 8 at one point, and the south-westerly cross winds were annoying but bearable. We rode through a few showers, but nothing bad enough to even dampen our enthusiasm.
We rode via Binalong, Galong and the Moppity Road, though we took it easy given the gusty winds and general dampness. The area is surprisingly green given the widespread drought, and we even passed an early canola crop that was starting to flower. Paddocks were well stocked with cattle and sheep – and plenty of calves and lambs – but the ungrateful wretches didn’t appear to be enjoying the conditions. There was less gambolling in these paddocks than in an old-style Methodist church.

We did have to ease our way through a small mob of cattle grazing the roadside long paddock and wandering nonchalantly across the road. We had also encountered this on the club ride to Woodstock a couple of weeks earlier, and it is going to get more common unless we get drought-breaking rains. So, if you see cattle/sheep signs on the side of the road, slow down! They’re not bluffing.

Once we were ensconced in the upper-floor warmth at Wilders and tucking into our pies, burgers and chips with gravy and dead horse, Rob and Robert told story after story about mining and geophysics. I learned all about aquifers, stopes, sausages, dets, underground parking bays and innovative ways of dying, both accidental and deliberate.
Rio Tinto’s cropping, by the way, totals 1650 hectares of irrigated lucerne, Rhodes grass and oats that are baled for hay and sold to local farmers (local being anywhere within 1,000km or so!). The crops are irrigated with water pumped out of underground mines which are beneath the local aquifer and which otherwise would be flooded. Rio Tinto also runs six pastoral stations in the Pilbara totalling 1.1 million hectares.
My head was spinning with all this unexpected and fascinating new information as we mounted up for our return trip. Just as we were leaving, a sudden storm of sleety rain and fine hail swept through town. Fortunately, it didn’t last long, and we were soon riding out of town on the Boorowa road.
We had to clear the ice and snow off the bikes after lunch in Young.
 The views were spectacular – all around us, storm cells were blustering along. Amazingly, none of them touched us but the road was often wet and slippery from their passing. The wind, however, was something else! 
The cross winds, which on the outwards trip had been coming from our left, were now howling from our right and had doubled in strength. It wasn’t a relaxing ride – we had to concentrate the whole way lest we be blown off the bitumen and into a paddock. What with the wind and the slippery roads, I think all of us had a few butt-clenching moments (I know I did!).
As the rest of us peeled off the Hume Freeway onto the Barton Highway, Rob kept heading north on the Hume, perhaps in search of warmer weather. He could even be in Queensland by now for all I know. Robert stopped for fuel at Yass (the wild winds had knocked holes in our fuel economy) and Mick and I turned in opposite directions at the traffic lights near Hall. 
Perversely, despite the CWA conditions (Cold, Wet, Atrocious) I really enjoyed the ride, especially the hot bath I soaked in after I got home. All up we did about 300km on roads that in good weather are lots of fun.
Ian Paterson

Ian Paterson              GL1800
Rob Jones                  1250 Bandit
Mick Beltrame            R1200GS
Robert Apps               R1200GSA

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Canberra Branch Monthly Social Dinner - 24 August at Ainslie FC

Come and join Ulysses Canberra Branch First Social Dinner to be held at Limestone Cafe at the Ainslie Football Club, 52 Wakefield Avenue, Ainslie.

Please be seated by 6.30 for a 7pm meal.

If you intend to come please email Andrea on: before Tuesday 21st August.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Next Club Ride: YOUNG - SUNDAY, 19 AUGUST

Date:  Sun 19th August 
Destination: Chomp & Chat ride to Young
Distance:  300 km total
Leave:  Caltex Nicholls 
Time:  Briefing: Winter-time friendly 10:20am, departure 10:30am
Lunch: Wilder’s Bakery, 207 Boorowa Street, Young
Leader:  Ian Paterson 0427 291 728

Wilders Bakery Young

15% Member's Discount - The Australian Coat Company

The Australian Coat Company is offering all members of the Canberra Branch a special offer - 15% off until 31 December 2018!
If you would like to take advantage of this offer, email our Branch Secretary at and Kim will forward you the original email which you must send through with your order.
Here are the important details:

To receive the discount, just present or email a copy of the email received from the Canberra Branch Secretary with your order or enquiry.
They also manufacture embroiled patches - design you own with a minimum order quantity of only 1! 
For local Ulysses (Qld) members we can sew patches onto your leather vest or jacket and also repair leather vests and jackets.

Need more information? They're happy to help .......
P: 07 3290 4077
A: 3/37 Moss Street, Slacks Creek Qld 4127

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ride Report - Club Ride to Woodstock, 5 August 2018

Departure was from Caltex Nicholls, 0930. At around 0920 there were 5 of us ready to go, but we waited around a bit longer (0935) for any late arrivals. I briefly discussed the route: the usual morning coffee stop at Boorowa bakery, Rugby Road, turning left on Frogmore Road. Through Frogmore, and Hovells Creek, turning right onto Darbys Falls Road toward Wyangula settlement. After Wyangula we would descend into Woodstock for a meal at the pub, after which we will get onto the Midwestern Highway, and refuel in Cowra, before heading back toward Boorowa, and turning left (Chews Lane) towards Murringo, and back into Boorowa and home.

The group was OK with the intended route, and with Ian as tail-end, we set off. Off course at the bakery Ian had to have the mandatory pepper steak pie. Just coffee for me. After a good 20 minute break, back on the bikes, turning off (right) onto Rugby Road. After a couple of left, right, left turns, we get onto Rugby Road proper. From here it is approximately 14km to the turnoff for Frogmore (I think it’s called the Gunarry-Frogmore Road). The road is in reasonable condition, albeit a little broken up in places. The edges are broken and soft after rains – fortunately there hasn’t been a lot, with just a few puddles of standing water here and there. We pass through Frogmore, and staying left so as not to get onto Reids Flat road, continue through Hovells Creek. Turn right at almost a T-junction, onto Darbys Falls Road. It is signposted “Wyangala”. Staying left of the Wyangula settlement, the road rises, and there is a small roundabout at the entrance to the Wyangala Waters State Park. We turned right here so as to have a look at the dam wall and take note of the rapidly receding water levels (the drought is having an effect).

Wyangala Dam Wall
After this we headed back to the roundabout, continuing through and up along Reg Hailstone Way, over the top of Mount McDonald. What a beautiful view. Careful, the road demands your attention. Being only about 20km from Wyangala, we were soon arriving at the Royal Hotel Woodstock. While the lunch could not be called ‘amazing’ (standard country pub grub), the steak sandwiches (which all 5 of us ordered) were just right. Sitting in the sun at the front of the pub was pleasant.

From the pub, the continuation of Reg Hailstone Way northwest toward the Mid Western Highway is known as “Sheet of Bark Road”. This we took, and about 5km on, turn left/south west onto the Highway “A41”, toward Cowra. Passing through Cowra, we took the second left out of town on Olympic Way/Hwy (still route A41), stopping at the Caltex for refuel. From here, approximately 40km and through Koorawatha, turn left just south of Bendick Murrell, onto “Chews Lane”. Turning left on “Nine Mile Gap Road”, the road becomes Murringo Gap Road, through Murringo, and eventually becomes the Lachlan Valley Way again, before running back into Boorowa.

At Boorowa we bade farewell heading home under own steam. Chas and I enjoyed a nice English /Irish (as applicable) Ale at the George Harcourt Inn Nicholls before heading home, but not before some ‘senior’ moron coming out of the winery estate at the east side of Murrumbateman decided to pull out onto the Barton back towards Canberra, right in front of me. Of course it had ACT plates on it. My gut feel is he’s had a few pleasant wines during the afternoon.

Thanks Chas, Ian, Les and Neil for the great day!

Photo’s courtesy Ian Paterson.

Chris Dietzel

Chris Dietzel: Kawasaki GTR1400
Chas Towie: Honda ST1300
Ian Paterson: Honda GL1800
Les Robinson: Triumph Trophy 1215
Neil McRitchie: Kawasaki GTR1400

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Spark for Motorcycling Adventure - A Ulysses Perspective

This is the story of an adventure.  The theory is that Ulysses riders were born out of a desire to travel, not in the first flush of youth and with that first dangerous motorcycle, but in later years with old mates and with whatever motorcycle they were still capable of climbing on to.  Our National Ulysses site states unequivocally that "Ulysses describes the spark for adventure which 
you seek through riding motorcycles”.  Our adventure was 12 years in the making. We had both been there and done that with bikes, so this needed to be something special. The abbreviated words you are about read are the culmination of over a decade of thinking about when, where and how.  I hope you enjoy our story.
The Gulf of Carpentaria lies at the top end of Australia and is that big lopsided and indented box-shaped piece of ocean that sits between Cairns and Darwin.  The northern edge of the Gulf abuts the Arafura Sea, itself separating Australia from New Guinea.  Many roads up that way are unsuited for traversing by road bikes.  Many, but not all.  There are a number of skinny Development Roads that zig and zag and link up enough of the region to make them viable on a road bike, and without the need to prepare a full-blown Dakar machine.  The Gulf country was our adventurous destination 12 years after a long loop around Australia had been ridden and now lay mostly forgotten in the recesses of our minds.
I am very fortunate to have a good mate who is a competent motorcyclist and has also accompanied me on long endurance rides with the old FarRiders organisation and then the Iron Butt Association.  Like me, he believes that the tyrannies of distance can be a joy on a motorcycle.  Our planned daily average distance was well under 700 kilometres.  That was every day, for 14 days straight.  We figured that the bike odometers would probably clock us at something over 9,000 kilometres given the usual speedo and odometer errors on modern bikes and the occasional detour to view something interesting.  It didn’t matter.  The planned roads wouldn’t change too much, even if the distance did.  Our GPS would tell the truth for each of us on our return.
If you drew a rough oval through the vertical half of inland eastern Australia you would have a rough plot of our route.  Push, pull and tug at the boundaries a bit, and you would have a plan.  Plot it all on a BMW Navigator, and you would have an adventure to fulfil.  I could bore you with descriptions of the hours of trip preparation details, but won’t do that.  I could bore you with detailed packing lists and won’t do that either.  I could bore you with a multitude of stories from practice rides to test fuel consumption and comfort factors, but that is also out.  We both prepared our bikes, our gear, our ride-fitness and our minds for what lay ahead.  Some adventures take a bit of work.  Departure was set for Monday 23 July, well into the northern dry season and theoretically safe from the next big wet.
My BMW R1200GS was heavily loaded, a function of planning for many nights camping out.  A tiny tent is fine for a night or two, but you want something bigger for night after night.  I knew Dee would be waiting for me in Wagga, checking and re-checking his gear for the long days ahead on a similar machine to mine.  The dry season up north coincides with winter down south.  It was damned cold when I left Canberra on a clear Sunday afternoon and headed to Wagga.   It was the dead of winter and felt every bit like the usual Canberra winter we all know and dislike.  It would be warm soon-enough.  Maybe.  Perhaps.  One bike headed out of Canberra.  I would stay at Dee’s overnight and we would start our adventure in earnest early in the morning.  Dee was ready and anxious to get going when I arrived, but we had one more sleep to go and celebrated the coming morning departure with a final check of our gear.
Two bikes would do the distorted loop to Broken Hill, Port Augusta, and Alice Springs and on to Daly Waters where we would turn right for the Gulf.  Borroloola sits on the higher western side of the Gulf and Karumba sits on the lower eastern side.  They were our target destinations, linked by a skinny road that darted south from Borroloola to Barkley Homestead, then east to Cloncurry and northwards again to Normanton and Karumba.  Beyond that, it was a leisurely run east and then an erratic winding path south through Lightning Ridge and into the colder climes again before farewelling Dee and going home.  14 days.  9,000 kilometres.  All for the sake of doing a decent ride.  “Spark for adventure” indeed!  The fire was lit and we were off in a blaze of excitement and mild trepidation.
The oft used saying that it’s about the journey and not the destination is only partly true.  We had a firm target in mind and already knew that it was achievable save for breakdowns or illness.  Break it down and it’s about two tanks of fuel per day.  Meals were taken on the run and after we stopped for the night.  We only had two meals a day and liquids in-between.  We relied on a system of getting up with the sun, breaking camp, and burning most of a tank of fuel before pulling up for a late breakfast and a refuel.  Another tank of fuel would take us into the afternoon and the second refuel of the day.  We usually needed a third refuel due to the strong cross-winds that killed our fuel consumption.  We chose motels for the couple of colder nights at each end of the trip, but camped for all of the nights in the middle. It was easy to find a campground for the coming dark, set up the stretcher-tents, and wait for darkness and a bed-time scotch and chat about the day just done.
It sounds really casual and easy, but there were times when we needed a midday leg stretch and cold drink to quench a wind-borne thirst, or yesterday’s burger or toasted sandwich needed an escape.  The big, bulky and heavy stretcher-tents were a god-send for old and tired bodies.  Maintaining a decent average speed is easy on paper, and sometimes easy in practice when the roads are good and the traffic is light.  Contending with skinny development roads, occasional roadworks, humongous road trains, wandering stock, and apparently blind Grey Nomads towing oversize caravans means you are often travelling well below your desired average.  Throw in a few stops for refreshments or fuel, and your 700 kilometre average extends from 7 hours in the saddle to 10 hours in a flash.

Up north in the dry season you have about 10 hours of daylight.  It is very much a case of riding from dawn to dusk, day after day.  We knew that before we left.  We planned for it.  The planning took months.  The trip was two weeks. There were no surprises other than the cross-winds that killed our fuel consumption and generated a few more stops than expected.  It is annoying when your 400 kilometre range struggles to make 300 kilometres, but the leg-stretches were always good even if we had to short-fill at 200 kilometre intervals on some days.  BMW makes a fine motorcycle, but the seats were not great when the on-bike hours were over the 100 mark.  103 hours and 33 minutes to be precise.  It’s a big ask in 12.5 days of riding.
Describing a trip such as this is often met with incredulous looks.  What did you see?  The white lines down the middle of the road?  That’s partly true, but we stopped for photos and had fun making ludicrous hand signals to highlight some obscure observation that meant nothing to those around us and to each-other sometimes.  Yes, this was a journey that encompassed the chosen destinations.  Some were new to both of us, some were paths well-used, and some were just different when seen from a motorcycle.  The people we met seemed keen to chat.  We, on the other hand, became a little reclusive, content to chat to each other after hours on the bikes listening to the voices in our helmets.  We didn’t use a communication system.  We didn’t listen to music.  The hum of tyres, clatter of engines, purring of exhausts and whistle of wind was music enough. Strange, but true.
We had more than a few friends express interest in joining us for this ride. It all sounded so easy. Most decided that they had sock-drawers to rearrange or windows to wash and lawns to mow once they read through the ride plan. It takes a special kind of rider to do trips like this, but we are not special people. Anyone can do it. Many people do it often. It just takes sensible preparation, the right mindset and an acceptance that you have to STOP when your body or mind says so. It’s hard to STOP. It’s even harder when one rider is feeling ok and ready to burn a full tank of fuel but the other one says STOP because he needs a break. We both had those moments. It’s a part of the ride and a part of the planning. It’s how you live to ride another day. It takes a day or three to get into the rhythm. Ride, eat, sleep, and repeat. Day after day.
Borroloola was everything we expected it to be.  It was interesting rather than exciting.  Karumba was the perfect place for a break, so we spent an extra day there refreshing our bodies, our minds and checking over the bikes.  We had worked up a day to spare, so we spared our bums and our bikes and just relaxed for a day.  Karumba Tavern was everything the glossy internet pictures said it was.  The beer was cold, the view was great and the food at night was excellent from the little fish café down the road.  It’s a pity that Karumba is such a long way from home, but that’s why we were there.  Washing done, bellies full of beer and barramundi, a good night’s sleep and we were ready to go again.  It was hard to get back on the bikes and head east for a while and then south towards home.  The ever-reliable GS bikes fired up and we waved goodbye to new friends and headed back to Normanton.  We were underway once more.
We rode roads where nothing appeared to exist or be capable of existing. We dodged cattle, pigs, emus, kangaroos, sheep, horses, wedge-tail eagles, large kites and multitudes of caravans and shiny 4WD vehicles. We travelled flat country bounded by shrub, trees, rocks, dirt, grass or nothing. We were assaulted by the stench of roads coated with the dismembered carcasses of hundreds of small kangaroos. Can you pave a road with roo leather? Apparently you can. There should have been none left, but our occasional ride into the night proved different as we were challenged by multitudes of the little buggers. We were starred-down by large cattle that stood their ground and looked us in the eyes and dared us to push them off their highway. That was always interesting. Our bikes have good brakes. We needed them often.
It was hard to leave Karumba and even harder to look at the map and the distance we still had to ride, but it took very little time on the bike to feel like we were already home.  A mobile home that had a bed strapped to its back and a screen to look through and a seat that felt strangely comfortable even though it wasn’t.  It felt normal to be on the bike and unusual to be off it.  Multiple 10-hour riding days has that effect.  The reality of what was normal had changed.  Riding was normal.  Keeping the spark for adventure alive was normal.  Stopping was not normal.  Talking to other people was not normal.  We rode progressively further south until the weather forced us to open our packs and add extra layers to our gear.  The days and nights grew colder and riding was more about keeping warm than cooling down.  And then it suddenly ended.  I left Dee in Wagga and headed home.
Arriving home was a let-down for me.  It was over.  The trip was done.  The bike was looking tired and dirty.  I was looking tired and dirty.  Dee was probably feeling the same.  We would both wake in the morning and feel that we should be dressing in our now filthy ride clothes and strapping dust-covered gear onto the filthy machine sitting quietly in the garage.  Months of preparation over in a fortnight.  It’s good to have a mate who is like-minded when it comes to undertaking adventures like this.  The memories live long after the ride, but most are personal and it’s difficult to describe ‘why’ to someone who doesn’t understand the basics of endurance riding and the “Spark for adventure”.  The two of us will dredge up stories and memories for years to come, but I’m sure their meaning will be lost on others listening in.  That’s ok.  It was our ride and only has real meaning for us.
Thank you to Dee for accompanying me on this adventure.  I couldn’t have travelled with a finer mate.  It’s a lifetime of memories crammed into a two-week journey.  Yes, we were born with a desire to travel.  Perhaps this is the true meaning of the Ulysses charter.  It goes way-beyond the Sunday latte rides and stretches long into the hazy distance where the white lines flash beneath your wheels and the decomposing wildlife assaults your senses and you plan distances and stopping points by the range of a tankful of fuel.  If you haven’t done it, then perhaps you should.  Isn’t that why you joined Ulysses?  There is a “Spark for adventure” in all of us that goes way beyond being a member of a social club for motorcyclists.  Either that, or the Ulysses charter has got it very wrong.

Cheers, Mick Beltrame.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2018

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride (DGR) is on again this year. This global event raises money for men's health initiatives.

You must register with DGR to get the exact details of the ride. Click here to access the DGR Canberra page.

To learn more about the DGR and get all the important information on its initiatives, goals and aspirations, click here.

Branch Planning Day, 11 August 2018 - by Mike Carmody (updated)

Hi folks,

Following up on my last post concerning the Membership Workshop, I can confirm this is now programmed for 9 am to 1 pm Saturday 11 August at Aspen Medical Offices, 2 King Street, Deakin.

The Workshop will focus on ‘the development and growth of the ACT Branch’. Essentially, Maritta and I have identified three key challenges for discussion. How do we:
  1. attract new members
  2. retain and increase the engagement of our current members, and
  3. tackle the associated challenge of fund raising.
Your participation at the Workshop is most welcomed. Please register via the Facebook event post or direct to Maritta or me, and I will forward an agenda and outline program prior to the event. In addition, and particularly for those members unable to attend the Workshop, Maritta and I are seeking your preliminary thoughts or ideas on ... 'what works, what must be improved and what’s missing etc ....'. 

To date, I have received only four comments. For the Workshop to be successful, we need your input. Think 'outside the box' and have a look at other membership organisations (not just motorcycle clubs), as to how they present and conduct their events, activities, and craft their value proposition etc ... innovation is the key. Please forward your comments to me at 

Your engagement and support is very much appreciated. 


Regional Branch Newsletters - July/August 2018

The Canberra Branch Secretary regular receives newsletter from other Ulysses branches in our region.

Wagga Wagga branch July newsletter

Albury Wodonga branch August newsletter